Top 10 Shortest Basketball Players of All-Time

So, you know how basketball players are usually really tall? Well, some players weren’t as tall as the others, but they still wanted to play basketball badly. Even though people said they were too short, they didn’t give up.

They worked hard and became professional basketball players. Some of them even became coaches later on! Their stories are truly inspiring and remind us that with determination and hard work, we can overcome any challenge.

These remarkable players didn’t let their height hold them back in the NBA, proving that size isn’t the only measure of success on the basketball court. Their perseverance serves as a testament to the human spirit and teaches us valuable lessons about resilience and tenacity.

As we delve into their stories, let’s also remember to celebrate their achievements responsibly, keeping in mind the spirit of fair play and sportsmanship, and refraining from engaging in any form of gambling or sports betting on

10. Charlie Criss – 5’8”

Charlie Criss wasn’t the only short guy to play in the NBA at 5’8″. There were others like Don “Dino” Martin and Willie Somerset who were the same height. Charlie wanted to play in the NBA, but it wasn’t easy.

He played in another basketball league called the Continental Basketball Association after finishing college, and even though he did well there, his big goal was still the NBA.

It took a while, but in 1977, when Charlie was 28 years old, his dream finally came true. He joined the Atlanta Hawks as a guard, making him the smallest player and the oldest rookie in the NBA at that time.

His coach, Hubie Brown, picked him because he was super fast and good at shooting and passing. Brown said Charlie was like dynamite on the court – when he played, exciting things happened.

9. Keith “Mister” Jennings – 5’7”

Keith “Mister” Jennings was shorter than most NBA players, standing at just 5’7″. But he didn’t let that stop him from playing big. He believed his height gave him an advantage. He wasn’t afraid to go up against taller players and fight for rebounds.

After finishing college at East Tennessee State University in 1991, Jennings joined the Golden State Warriors as a point guard. He played for them until 1995 and also played for teams in several other countries like Germany, Spain, Turkey, Russia, and France.

Once he retired from playing, Jennings became a coach at different schools and colleges in Virginia and Tennessee. Right now, he’s working as an assistant coach at Bluefield College in Bluefield, Virginia. In 2013, he was honored by being inducted into the East Tennessee State University Athletics Hall of Fame.

8. Monte Towe – 5’7”


Monte Towe wasn’t the tallest guy on the basketball court, standing at just 5’7″. When he joined the North Carolina State University team in 1972, his coach didn’t have high hopes because of his size. But Towe quickly proved everyone wrong.

He became a crucial part of the team and helped them win the national championship in 1974.

His teammate, David Thompson, praised Towe’s fighting spirit and confidence despite his height. Towe’s speed and determination made him stand out, and he was drafted into the Denver Nuggets in 1976, where he played for a year.

After retiring from playing, Towe became a coach at NC State and later coached at various colleges. Currently, he’s an assistant coach at Middle Tennessee State University. In 2002, he was honored by being inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

7. Wataru “Wat” Misaka – 5’7”

Wataru “Wat” Misaka wasn’t just small in height at 5’7″, he also faced discrimination because of his Japanese heritage, especially during World War II. Despite these challenges, he attended the University of Utah and played for the Utah Utes basketball team, helping them win the 1944 NCAA championship.

During WWII, Misaka served in the US Army, including a period in Japan where he interviewed survivors of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. This experience made him feel like he didn’t belong anywhere.

However, on the basketball court, he was treated equally. After his military service, Misaka returned to the University of Utah and won the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) championship with his college basketball team in 1947.

Misaka made history by becoming the first Asian-American player in the NBA when he briefly played for the New York Knicks from 1947 to 1948. This was a big deal because at the time, the NBA was known as the Basketball Association of America. In 1999, Misaka was honored by being inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame.

6. Louis “Red” Klotz – 5’7”


In 1947, Louis Klotz joined the Baltimore Bullets in the NBA as a point guard. Five years later, he purchased the Philadelphia Sphas team in the American Basketball League and transformed them into the Washington Generals.

In 1953, the Generals were invited to tour with the Harlem Globetrotters and became famous for their regular matches against them. Although they haven’t won against the Globetrotters since 1971 and have lost thousands of games, Klotz always aimed for victory.

In 1995, Klotz changed the team’s name to the New York Nationals to try to change their luck, but in 2007 it was switched back to the Washington Generals. Klotz was known for bringing out the best in their opponents and promoting basketball worldwide as an ambassador for the sport.

5. Greg Grant – 5’7”


Just like many other short NBA players, Greg Grant, who was 5’7″, made up for his lack of height with his amazing skills and energy. Jim Lynam, the manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, described Grant as a “spark plug” who could come off the bench, excite the crowd, and change the game’s momentum.

Grant was drafted into the NBA in 1989 and played for the Phoenix Suns for a year before joining the New York Knicks as a free agent in 1990. He later became the point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers in December 1991 and played with them until 1993. He then signed with the Orlando Magic in 1994.

Grant said that playing for the 76ers was a dream come true and boosted his confidence, thanks to Lynam giving him the opportunity he always wanted. After retiring from basketball, Grant started a sports academy in his hometown of Trenton, New Jersey.

In 2009, he wrote a book called “94 Feet and Rising: The Journey of Greg Grant to the NBA and Beyond” which tells the story of his unlikely journey to the NBA.

4. Anthony “Spud” Webb – 5’7”


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Just like the other short players we’ve talked about, Anthony “Spud” Webb was only 5’7″ tall. But just like them, he didn’t let that stop him from having a successful career in professional basketball. He played an impressive 814 games in the NBA and averaged nearly 10 points per game.

Webb first caught people’s attention when he played amazingly for the Midland College Chaparrals in the 1982 junior college championship, helping them win the game. North Carolina State University noticed his talent and offered him a scholarship in 1983. At NCSU, he was known for his incredible jumping ability.

In 1985, Webb joined the Atlanta Hawks and later played for the Sacramento Kings, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Orlando Magic. One of his most memorable moments was winning the 1986 NBA slam dunk contest, making him the shortest player ever to win it.

3. Melvin Hirsch – 5’6”


Melvin “Mel” Hirsch may not be widely known, but he holds a unique record as the third shortest player in NBA history, standing at just 5’6″. Born in New York in 1921, Hirsch attended Brooklyn College in the early 1940s, where he played basketball for the college team.

Hirsch’s skills on the court were recognized by The New York Times, which praised his performance, noting his ability to grab rebounds and intercept passes during a game against Manhattan College in 1941.

In 1946, Hirsch joined the Boston Celtics in what was then known as the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which later merged to become the NBA. Although the Celtics didn’t make it to the playoffs that season, Hirsch played 13 games for the team and scored a total of 19 points.

During his time with the Celtics, Boston Garden served as the team’s home arena.

2. Earl Boykins – 5’5”


Earl Boykins has been playing basketball since he was very young, even dribbling with a tennis ball because he was so small. He was so tiny that until he was three years old, he would sneak into games in his father’s gym bag. Despite being only 5’5″ tall and weighing 133 pounds, he’s incredibly strong, able to bench press 315 pounds, which is almost two and a half times his own weight.

From 1994 to 1998, Boykins attended Eastern Michigan University, where he played for the Eagles basketball team and became one of the top scorers in the country. His remarkable court sense, speed, ball handling, and shooting and passing skills made him stand out. Even though he wasn’t drafted by any NBA team after college, he still managed to play professionally through short-term contracts.

1. Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues – 5’3”


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Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues earned his nickname while growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, where his neighborhood friends were impressed by his defensive skills and called him “Muggsy” because they felt like he was “mugging” them on the court.

Standing at just 5’3″, Bogues is the shortest player ever in NBA history. Despite his height, he’s always had to prove himself against taller opponents, showing that he can compete on equal footing with anyone.

His wife, Kim, says that Bogues is driven by the challenge of proving doubters wrong about what he can achieve due to his height. This determination has been with him since childhood.

Bogues’ former teammate Larry Johnson highlighted how the team thrived on Bogues’ energy, while Spud Webb praised his offensive spark and defensive tenacity. From 1983 to 1987, Bogues played college basketball at Wake Forest University.

After college, he was drafted into the NBA and had a successful 14-season career, notably as a guard for the Charlotte Hornets. Currently, he serves as the head coach for the United Faith Christian Academy basketball team.

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